Mike enjoyed telling us “that he drew before he could even speak.” This memory—one where he expressed his needs through drawing instead of words as a toddler—demonstrates his early attraction to this form of artistic expression.
Living in the suburbs of Toronto, his parents also introduced him to art at a very young age by taking him to museums and gallery exhibitions, but also to the theatre and all kinds of cultural events. This closeness to art allowed him to develop his creative spirit. “To have a creative mind is to always push yourself beyond what you see and feel,” he said. Even today, Mike strives to keep his creative spirit alive by actively participating in cultural events.
Like many Canadians, Mike also loves hockey. He grew up playing and developing two passions: hockey and drawing. All his life, he had to defend this duality that now defines him: “I wasn’t artsy enough for artists and not athletic enough for athletes.” He always had to prove himself to both his hockey teammates and fellow artists. Being an extrovert with introverted tendencies, Mike nevertheless found balance and evolved in both worlds. For him, art is an emotional outlet, while hockey is a physical one. He pursued both passions throughout his adolescence and now feels like he succeeded at having the best of both worlds.
Mike always dreamed of becoming an NHL player, but an injury cut his career short, leaving him with a strong work ethic. Like any top athlete, he now practises his art daily. He sets objectives, prepares action plans and puts them into practice with relentless determination. Used to strict hockey schedules, Mike is just as disciplined with his art. It is with this same daily regularity that he strives to create each day for a few hours, while developing his website and social media accounts. As a young emerging artist, with a professional career in finance and in arts, Mike works hard to promote his work, and his efforts are gradually being rewarded as his reputation continues to grow.
Music inspires and nourishes this artist; he always listens to it and enjoys all musical genres. However, he not only listens to music, he also feels it deeply. Musical energy flows through his body and inhabits his creative process. He tells us that “beats help him unleash his creativity and make colours explode on the canvas.”
For this artist, colours are like an equation; they correspond to emotions. At a very young age, he began to associate colours with emotions, which then transformed into gestures and creative strokes on paper. His years on the ice also helped him develop his creative skills, as he compares handling a hockey stick to handling a paintbrush. He truly uses his past as an athlete to help shape his career as an artist. He did and continues to do hand-eye coordination exercises, which affect his creative process both emotionally and physically.
The rainbow of colours that Michael uses are his response to urban discontent. Through his art, he hopes to “brighten the lives of others.” Embellishing people’s lives, seeing them smile when they look at his artwork is all the encouragement he needs to keep creating.
This ambitious artist is currently working on a wide variety of projects, ranging from an art gallery exhibition to a YouTube channel and a giant outdoor mural. We wish Mike all the best and are proud to count this young artist among our Zone members.
Michael Wills is a mixed-media artist.
His favourite products are Apollon’s giant canvases, which he particularly likes for their exceptional quality. “The bigger the better!” he exclaimed laughing. He also likes the density and fluidity of Tri-Art acrylic paints. He works with straight, wide or narrow blade knives, which he compares to mini hockey sticks. Finally, he particularly likes Sabotaz spray paints because they are easy-to-use.